The Bridge is Temporarily Closed for Construction & I’d Appreciate Your Help

I’m going to take about a month-long break from The Bridge. Well, I guess it would be more accurate to say I’m giving you a break, because during that time I want to do some writing, re-evaluating, and redesigning.

And I would truly appreciate your help.

Here are some of the things I’ve been thinking about:

God Questions

These little daily Bible readings and devotionals are something I do for myself. These will likely continue unchanged for a while. I don’t know if you find them helpful, but I do. If you have any input whatsoever about these, please email me at: Lloyd@LloydRHamilton.com

Other People’s Stuff

Before I started The Bridge I shared quite a bit of this type of material on Facebook. The internet can be a vast storehouse of divisive misinformation, unabashed immorality, and complete insanity. But it is also a daily flood of helpful, encouraging, amusing, challenging and educational material. I’ve always made it a goal to find and share the latter. When I started this blog about a year ago, I decided that this type of sharing would be one of its features. I don’t know this for a fact, but I get the sense that these links are not getting the traffic they did when I shared them directly on social media. I have some theories on why that might be, but they’re only theories. I want to put helpful, encouraging and challenging stuff into the hands of people who need and want it. I share a variety of links almost daily. I’d like to know if you see them, if you read any of them (if so, which ones?) and any other thoughts you may have about this. Email me at: Lloyd@LloydRHamilton.com

My Stuff

When I started the blog my plan was to write at least 2 original posts per week. I haven’t quite kept up that pace. My first post was on 10/15/2015. Since then I’ve written 65 original pieces on a variety of topics. That works out to about 1.5 per week. (You can find them all by clicking “My Stuff” here, or in the Category List to the left on your computer, or below on your phone.) These almost always get more readers than my other posts. I want to get better at this. I’d love to hear from you about these. I generally will write about whatever I’ve had on my mind. That trend will likely continue, but I’d like to know what kinds of things you’d be most likely to read, as well. Email me at: Lloyd@LloydRHamilton.com

Social Media

This is where it really gets tricky for me and I’m not exactly sure how to proceed.

Ideally, I wouldn’t need to use social media very much at all. People would simply bookmark my web site (LloydRHamilton.com) and eagerly visit it on a daily basis just to see what’s new. I’m pretty sure absolutely no one does that.

Please understand, I’ve never had it as my goal to simply enlarge my readership. I simply want to make sure that I connect with the people who are interested. With that in mind I set up a separate Life On the Bridge Facebook page where I share all of my blog posts. Those who are interested can follow that page and I can avoid filling up newsfeeds and annoying everybody else. My thought was that if a person “liked” the page, my posts on that page would show up in their newsfeed. I would maintain my personal Facebook presence, but it would be more, well, personal. Initially I would share my Life On the Bridge stuff on my personal timeline for a few months, in hopes of driving more people to like the page, but eventually I would back off from that.

This was my plan, but it hasn’t exactly worked out that way. I believe there are several reasons for this, but the major one seems to be that the FB algorithms treat “pages” way differently than a personal timeline. In other words, if you’re my FB friend and “like” a lot of the stuff I post, my posts will continue to appear prominently in your newsfeed. This is not necessarily the case with “pages” unless you pay for it to be “promoted,” which I am loathe to do.

Long story short: I’m thinking of killing the Life On the Bridge FB page and just use my personal profile. If you have any other ideas or experience with using social media in conjunction with a personal web site, I’d love to hear from you. Email me at: Lloyd@LloydRHamilton.com

I intend to continue with Church Sign of the Week (so far it seems like there’s an endless supply) and my Sunday morning worship quotes.

Anyway, these are some of the things I’ve been kicking around in my head. I mean it when I say I’d love to hear from you. I want to know what you’ve liked and what you don’t like. I’d like to hear any ideas you may have on any of the things above, or anything else you can think of pertaining to Life On the Bridge. I considered setting up a little online survey but decided I’d rather keep it wide open.

Please take a moment and email me at: Lloyd@LloydRHamilton.com

Thank you!

The Bridge will be back sometime in September.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks for your feedback.

Lloyd

Weekend Picks ~ 8-12-2016

Picks Weekend

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

The inconsistency is staggering…

Trump-Loving Christians Owe Bill Clinton an Apology
Jonathan Merritt
Although both Bill Clinton and Trump have a morally checkered past, only one of them has apologized for his failings. In September of 1998, a solemn Bill Clinton asked that the country, his family, and God to forgive him, saying, “I have sinned.” Evangelical leaders largely dismissed his apology and continued their calls for impeachment. By contrast, Trump says he has never asked God for forgiveness. Conservative Christians were unwilling to extend mercy to a Democrat who asked for it but have offered it freely to a Republican who doesn’t want it.

All of this signals something bigger: an end to meaningful evangelical power and influence. Since the late 1970s, conservative Christian leaders have claimed their political engagement is about morality. They have claimed it is about character. They have claimed it is about values. They have claimed it is about biblical principles. Pious preachers, thunderous televangelists, and moralizing activists have sold America a bill of goods about their pure motivation for decades. But evidence indicates that evangelical political engagement is really about cultural influence, social dominance, and power.

Trump-loving evangelical leaders should either apologize to Bill Clinton or admit, after all these years, that they, too, have a character issue.


Actually, they probably would tell you if you asked…

Seven Things a Worship Leader Won’t Tell YouManuel Luz
https://manuelluz.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/worship-hands1.jpg?w=1246&h=525&crop=1Many people have a misconception that the worship leader just straps on a guitar on Sunday morning and starts to sing, and everything just kind of flows out of this God-bathed spirituality. After all, how hard is it to play a Chris Tomlin tune anyway?

…there are a lot of misconceptions about what worship leaders do that would surprise you. And a lot of things we think about the job that you might not realize. Here are Seven Things a Worship Leader Won’t Tell You…


These are things I believe about Bible translations. I didn’t realize the KJV translators believed the same thing…

6 Surprising Ideas the KJV Translators Had about Other Bible TranslationsGeorge H. Guthrie
6 Surprising Ideas the KJV Translators Had about Other Bible Translations“KJV only” churches, of course, believe that their translation is the only version that faithfully embodies the Word of God. All other translations are to be rejected out of hand…

…Yet, it is interesting that the KJV translators themselves had particular ideas about translations other than their own, and they lay out their views clearly and forcefully in the published Preface of the original edition of their eloquent translation. Ironically, their views are very different from those who champion their translation today. So here are 6 ideas the KJV translators had about other translations of the Bible…

…They thought that the Bible itself should be translated again and again, since it is more worthy of such work than any body of ancient literature. Consequently, the translators of the King James Version would be the first to affirm the importance of modern translations carrying on their legacy for the good of the Church and the advance of the gospel in the world.


I’ve had the privilege of living most of my life around atypical women, and raising a couple of them…

When You’re Not a Typical WomanAbigail Dodds
When You’re Not a Typical WomanThe goal of a Christian woman isn’t to be typical. Especially if what typical means is an overly made-up, hyper-feminine, wilts-at-the-first-sign-of-hard-work, check-brain-at-door type of woman. Where is that in the Bible?…

…So, be encouraged and truly liberated, all you atypical women. God doesn’t ask you to be typical. He calls you to be his.


“Elective” surgery…
Bizarro

Deuteronomy 6:10-25

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Deuteronomy 6:10-25
10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers 19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’

From this passage I hear God asking me:
If you were there then, could you do this?
Do you think I’ve changed?
Whose slave were you? (v. 21)
What signs and wonders were done on your behalf? (v. 22)
Did I bring you out from there? (v. 23)
So, what is your response to this? (vs. 24-25)

Thursday Picks ~ 8-11-2016

Picks Thursday

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Is worship leading a performance? Let’s just say that it’s important enough that you can’t afford to not do your best…

Why Your Stage Presence MattersDavid Santistevan
WHY YOURStage presence. It’s a conversation that excites some and infuriates others.

Some pay attention to it, others don’t seem to care.

Truth is, you can’t afford to ignore it…

…People engage in activities they feel comfortable with. They need to trust the leader. Without this trust, there is hesitation. Why do fans go crazy at an arena rock show? They trust the band. They know the songs. They feel comfortable losing themselves in the moment. This is what keeps a lot of teams from seeing the full potential of their worship services. They are timid, shy, held back, & nervous. Nerves beget nerves. Timidity begets timidity. But when a team is engaging and confident, a congregation is engaging and confident.


Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot lately, but I loved this short post about Ray Ortlund’s father…

Daily slogging in the power of the SpiritRay Ortlund
These pages record, one by one, over 1800 sermons preached during [my father’s] ministry at Lake Avenue Congregational Church alone, and by no means a complete record even during those years.

How many hours of preparation and prayer and study are represented by this simple but eloquent written record, I wonder?

…I am not impressed by young pastors who seem too eager to publish books and speak at big events and build “a platform.”  They are doing the work of the Lord, which is good.  But I’m not impressed.  What impresses me is my dad’s daily slogging, year after year, in the power of the Spirit, with no big-deal-ness as the goal or the payoff.

This is the pastoral ministry that brings Jesus into the world today.


Please people, take 5 minutes and Google that outrageous tidbit before you become complicit in spreading a lie…

Why We’re So Easily Duped (and what to do about it)
Brian Jennings
duped imageRumors and lies aren’t a new thing, but 2000 years ago the Jewish leaders didn’t have social media to spread their rumor: “Disciples steal Jesus’ body from tomb.” They would’ve loved the technology to mass-produce their concocted tale.

We must come back to our question: “Why are people so easily duped?” Why would masses of people retweet or share hurtful, dangerous, incendiary lies? Here’s some possibilities…

…You know what really irks me? It’s when I become one of the duped. Please help me when I am. Let’s do better, friends. Friends is what we are, right?


I had no idea that Stradivari also made guitars…

This is what the last surviving Stradivarius guitar sounds like today
Daniel Ross
last stradivarius guitarStradivari was more famous for his violins, but he also made various other instruments like this guitar. There are, technically, five Stradivarius guitars remaining in the world, but the Sabionari is the only one that’s still playable.

The guitar, known as the Sabionari, dates from 1679 and was made by the world’s most famous instrument maker, Antonio Stradivari.

Here, Rolf Lislevand plays a gorgeous Tarentela written by Santiago de Murcia…


Communications majors at Trump U…

Deuteronomy 6:1-9

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9
“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules[a]—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[b] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
How do you love me? Like verse 5 says?
Is that evident in all your relationships?
Specifically with your kids and grandkids?
What will you leave behind?

Wednesday Picks ~ 8-10-2016

Picks Wednesday

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

This one is a little long, but important, especially if you are one of those privileged folks who “pooh pooh” the whole idea of white privilege…

What I Said When My White Friend Asked for My Black Opinion on White PrivilegeLori Lakin Hutcherson
…trust me, nobody is mad at you for being white. Nobody. Just like nobody should be mad at me for being black. Or female. Or whatever.

But what is being asked of you is to acknowledge that white privilege does exist, and to not only to treat people of races that differ from yours “with respect and humor,” but also to stand up for fair treatment and justice, to not let “jokes” or “off-color” comments by friends, co-workers, or family slide by without challenge, and to continually make an effort to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, so we may all cherish and respect our unique and special contributions to society as much as we do our common ground.


I’m sharing this because I found it thought provoking. I’m still uncertain about what all those thoughts are, or might become…

I am not Homosexual . . . or Heterosexual or Bisexual or Any-Other-Kind-Of-SexualMatt Moore
Young man is looking at the sunriseI understand that my perspective and approach to all this sexuality terminology stuff doesn’t fit nicely into a box. I understand that, to the world and even to some Christians, it sounds crazy. But as aliens in this world (1 Peter 2:11), shouldn’t our perspectives be a bit alienish? As people who embrace a worldview that is almost totally contrary to the normative cultural worldview, shouldn’t the way we talk about things like this sound a bit otherworldly? Shouldn’t our perspectives and language be informed primarily by the content of God’s written word and not secular theories? I tend to think so.


Don’t Say God Is Silent with Your Bible ClosedMatt Brown
Don’t Say God Is Silent with Your Bible ClosedA.W. Tozer said, “The Bible is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking.” God wants to speak to us today, and everyday, through his word. God’s word is not simply “once spoken.” God’s word is always “now speaking.”

We silence the sound of God’s voice in our lives when we leave our Bible on the shelf. Many have shared another popular statement: “Complaining about God being silent when your Bible is closed is like complaining about not getting texts when your phone is turned off.”


https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ovXMe_HFz3I/V6dw6f1MF6I/AAAAAAAANHE/OoJtgLB9yIwQXpHVmGm4wSn1ZOFeZF9vQCLcB/s1600/bz%2B05-07-04%2BvasectomyWEB.jpg
Bizarro

Deuteronomy 5:22-33

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Deuteronomy 5:22-33
22 “These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. 23 And as soon as you heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, while the mountain was burning with fire, you came near to me, all the heads of your tribes, and your elders. 24 And you said, ‘Behold, the Lord our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. This day we have seen God speak with man, and man still live. 25 Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. If we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, we shall die. 26 For who is there of all flesh, that has heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of fire as we have, and has still lived? 27 Go near and hear all that the Lord our God will say, and speak to us all that the Lord our God will speak to you, and we will hear and do it.’

28 “And the Lord heard your words, when you spoke to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘I have heard the words of this people, which they have spoken to you. They are right in all that they have spoken. 29 Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear me and to keep all my commandments, that it might go well with them and with their descendants[e] forever! 30 Go and say to them, “Return to your tents.” 31 But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you the whole commandment and the statutes and the rules that you shall teach them, that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.’ 32 You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
One question today: Do you have a heart that fears me? (v. 29)

Deuteronomy 5:1-21

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Deuteronomy 5:1-21
And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our fathers did the Lord make this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive today. The Lord spoke with you face to face at the mountain, out of the midst of the fire, while I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to declare to you the word of the Lord. For you were afraid because of the fire, and you did not go up into the mountain. He said:

“‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

“‘You shall have no other gods before[a] me.

“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 10 but showing steadfast love to thousands[b] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 “‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

12 “‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. 15 You shall remember that you were a slave[c] in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

17 “‘You shall not murder.[d]

18 “‘And you shall not commit adultery.

19 “‘And you shall not steal.

20 “‘And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

21 “‘And you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.’

From this passage I hear God asking me:
How do you think the people could hear Moses speaking?
(I know it’s random, but he’s been speaking to them for a few chapters now and there’s a LOT of them and no microphone. Just think about how this might’ve worked.)
Can you see grace in these commands? Or, are they just rules to you?
I know that “honor your father and mother” one is heavy on your heart right now. Do you think you’re doing it?